9 Square is a mainstay at family reunions because all ages can play together. Big and little and old and young line up for their chance to become king of the square.
After a year of using our DIY setup I wanted to let you know of some of the downfalls we found in our design so you can make the best decision for you.
- Our PVC corners cracked and warped. We replaced them 3 times last summer!
- It was still bulky. I drive a Suburban and it didn’t easily fit. So we had to use my husband’s pick-up. This prevented us from taking it further from home than we wanted to.
- Took up a lot of space to store.
We were happy enough with it, but replacing corners was a pain and adds up. You can’t get them at a local hardware store, so when we tried to setup for a party and realized that they had warped sitting in our deck box in the sun it was a real disappointment.
Check out our DIY and then, if you think buying is the way you want to go, we recommend Castle Sports 9 Square. Their design has telescoping legs and packs away in a compact bag. Which makes storing and transporting a breeze. By using code “CraftingChicks20” you can save $20 on any 9 Square you purchase.
Here’s how we created our own DIY 9 Square:
If you are looking to save a little money DIY 9 Square is the way to go. I spent a lot of time looking at other 9 Square instructions and designed this version for our family. It combines the PVC legs and uppers with straps, to create a set that takes less room to store and haul than the ones made out of all pipe and also costs less. I’m not going to tell you that it is cheap to build, but it is less than buying.
My kids have spent lots of time playing on the ones made out of all PVC with middle legs so they were weary of this set up and not knowing where their square was. After the first time playing this way they decided that this set up is even better because the pieces don’t come undone as easy and there was no question as to where the squares were.
DIY 9 Square Supplies:
68 feet – 2″ Nylon Webbing
8 feet – 2″ Hook and Loop
18 lengths of 10 ft – 1 1/2″ PVC Pipe
4 – 3-way PVC Elbows
8 – PVC Tees
How to Make Your Own 9 Square:
First, cut 12 lengths of the PVC pipe to 5′ lengths with the saw. They come as 10′, so you’ll cut 6 pipes in half to get your 12 upper pieces.
Second, cut 12 lengths of PVC to the height you want. We chose to go with a height of 7′, but you can go as high as 8′ or as low as 5′ depending on how tall you want it. This will give you your 12 legs.
Third, cut the nylon webbing to length. You’ll need 4 straps 17′ long. This will give a foot on each end of the strap.
Fourth, sew your hook and loop onto the ends of the strap. We tried to get out of sewing it on, but couldn’t find a glue that would hold up to repeated use. If you don’t have a machine, asked friend to help you. You’ll want to lay our your upper square of PVC and the straps to see where to sew the velcro on. We found that the straps would tighten up and the hook and loop needed to be spaced further apart than we had thought.
How to Assemble:
Lay out a square with 3 lengths of 5′ lengths on each side. Use the PVC joints to assemble into your square with 2 tees on each side and the 3-way tees at the corners. Before adding the legs wrap the straps around the frame and secure. Then start adding the legs. We’ve found it works best to add the corners first and then the middle supports. It is also super helpful if there are tall people helping you! As the legs go in, be sure each connection is together well.
As an added bonus when taking it down and storing we’ve found the straps wrapped around the PVC pipe bundles make moving it and storing it very convenient. We bundle each length of pipe together and use a strap wrapped around each end to secure.
How to Play:
Once your 9 Square is in the air it is time to play! You’ll need a ball. We like to use the big plastic balls you can find (in the cages) at stores like Wal-Mart. It is like 4-Square, just bigger. To adapt we play with the rule that 10 and younger can catch the ball and then throw it. Over 10 they have to hit it.
Our 9 Square is only a couple months old and it has been used at the schools reading carnival, scout camp, a young men’s activity, a family party and a graduation party. We’ve used it indoors and outdoors.
I’ve had friends try to build their own. While the materials cost less, there’s so much time wasted in building it and fixing the PVC because it falls apart. A professionally made one is worth the investment
Kenya Baggett says
Do you find it to be less sturdy when using the straps instead of an upper frame? Can you explain how having straps helps them know where their square is located instead of the pvc? Thanks for sharing.
We used a set like this at our family reunion last summer, and nobody had an issue knowing where their square was. My sister used to have a set made out of pvc and she was always worried the kids would hang on the top poles and hurt themselves when it broke. So I used straps and it’s much safer.
Carla Tippets says
Any idea how much your diy set ended up costing?
It was about $200. This was a couple years ago, so costs could’ve gone up on supplies since then.